The Day it Snowed in April

It was so weird that morning
When we awoke to find
That things weren’t quite
As they ought to have been
The day it snowed in April.

And as if that strange start had
Somehow spread to infect us all
With humour, the silly jokes and
Contagious laughs came along fast
The day it snowed in April.

Around the breakfast table
We found that even things
Which yesterday were unfunny
Now suddenly had us tickled
The day it snowed in April.

We pondered – briefly – why this
Day might be so different from the
Rest but soon we switched again
To the peculiar unfamiliarity of
The day it snowed in April.

But sadly by the time it came
To go to school (or work) the
Snow had all but gone and left
No clue that there had ever been
A day it snowed in April.

Choose to be last

Most lives
Are lived
With the
Illusion of
Choice.
We think
We are free
To choose
What we
Want, but
In fact
We choose
Those things
That feed
Our inner
Pride – our
Idol of “me”.
It is not a
Show of
Power to
Choose what
Is already
Predetermined
Through our
Animal instincts.
With this
Choice we
Always choose
To be first.
Real power
Is when you
Can choose
Against that
Instinct and
Discover your
True humanity.
Real power
Is to
Choose to be
Last.

Footprint

The size of the hole left there
In the ground was impressive.
At a glance it looked like you
Could put your foot into it, but
Appearances can be deceptive.
The foot that left this hole belonged
To one of great stature, and
Also to one who knew kindness,
For although it was big, and deep,
It was also soft around the edges,
And in the warm earth beneath
New shoots had begun sprouting.

How do we fill such a hole, and
Walk in another’s footprints?
Perhaps the whole point is that
We don’t, and instead we allow
The footprint left behind to remain
As a way marker for generations
To come, whilst we move forward
On the same path, leaving behind
The things we can’t take forward,
Yet somehow released to advance
With a renewed determination that
One day we too will create our own
Footprints.

A reflection on the passing of my dear friend and mentor Dennis Wrigley

The good and faithful servant

He was tired at the end
As he lay down, his labour done.
Yet even as he closed his eyes
In restful repose his ministering went on,
Not lessening but – strangely –
Increasing, for to him it was not
Finished until his Master said so,
And he loved unceasingly all those
He served, his Master most of all.
So when the time came for him
To finally resign his calling,
Obediently, as ever, he laid it down
And passed through the veil
Which stands at the overlap of
Heaven and Earth into the
Presence of his Master who,
With open arms, received him
And called out with great delight,
“Good and faithful servant,
Come and share in my joy!”

(For Dennis)

The Rock

When the foundation of the world
Was laid in time immemorial
It was founded on the Rock of Ages,
Of which there has not been a time
When it was not, and this Rock was
The beginning of all things.

The Rock was solid and sure and able
To sustain a good world filled with
Good life and multitudinous landscapes,
Where life could fruitfully multiply
And mirror the rock in its very reason
For being, in perfectly ordered form.

Then the Rock brought forth a being
A little lower than the angels yet
Crowned in the splendour of the Rock,
Uniquely chosen to be the communion
Of soil and spirit, of creation and creator
And the Rock was pleased for it was good.

This being was made of the dust of
Stars and placed in the midst of
The world founded on the Rock of Ages,
To continue the work of the Creator
And creatively bring forth new things
Whilst productively working the earth.

But the man of dust misused his
Creative power and began to build
A world in his image, to his own glory,
Eroding the Rock to create dust for
Clay and sand for cement believing
That he could build a safe world alone.

It’s not the dust or the sand that fails
Or the creativity that lacks power
In man’s vain attempts to play Creator,
It’s the lack of wisdom and the disconnect
From the Rock itself that leads to the
Feeble construction of man’s own house.

For when the rains come and the floods rise
Against that weak structure the sand
And dust are washed away in the torrents,
Returning to the foundation of the world
And to the Rock from whence they came
In the hope that man too may return.

But the house that is built upon the Rock
Where man trusts not in man but in the One
Who founded the world in perfect order,
This house will withstand the rain and
Storms, the howling winds and scorching sun
And the man who built it will also stand.

For everything that is built on the Rock
Will stand – EVERYTHING.
And everything that is built on sand
Will fall – EVERYTHING.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

(Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)

Poverty

All I have is gift, and yet,
My heart craves things –
Impermanent, transient things –
That rust and perish almost as soon
As I take hold of them.
I chase leaves which turn from green,
To gold, and then always to dust.

There is a secret known only
To those who have learnt
To receive all life as a gift;
Who accept need and want
As provision;
Who live or die each day
In peaceful security.

To disavow oneself of all things –
Emptying those secret chests we
Fill with seductive desires –
Is to be free to accept
All things as gift;
To have nothing,
And yet possess everything.

When I consider the birds, the lillies,
And recall all that has truly held value,
Then once again I can receive all as gift.
This is the poverty that enriches;
The emptying that truly fills;
Dissatisfaction that satisfies, and
A discipline that sets me free.

In Love Resounding

All the ways you reach out to me;
All the times you come to me;
All the days you have numbered for me;
All the lives of those who love me;
All the angels who watch over me;
All the ways your grace heals me;
All the joy that overflows inside me;
All that you creatively inspire in me;
All that you are to me;
All the songs you have sung over me
Since the day of my creation;

May You who are all in all receive
My song of praise and adoration,
Sung forever with humble thanksgiving,
In love resounding.

The Garden of our Love

This ground is good for growing,
And firm enough to build up high.
The bedrock was laid and made in
Covenantal love when we believed
That what we might be together was
Far greater than what we could become
Alone.

For it is not good for the (wo)man to be alone,
And yet as we grow in this our garden
We find that fruitfulness and entanglement,
Joy and sorrow, laughter and tears,
Are the landscape which shapes and constrains
Our life of love, and which creates both the
Shafts of light and the long shadows of each day.

But this ground is good for growing;
The soil enriched by the fertilisation
Of all those things which have to die in us,
And firm enough to build up high,
If only we would choose to dream our dreams,
And then wake and make them our reality.

Peter, which means ‘rock’

The Rock of Ages came to tell Peter
That the station was fast approaching.
At this station all must change,
For where we’re going this part
Of the journey must first end.
It seemed that he was too weak,
Too frail to make the change
Alone, and so we gathered there,
Around him, with him, to lift him
Up on prayers and hymns, and with
Sacramental love to provision
Him for his passing over.

We know where you are going, but
We know not what it will be like,
What scenery you will behold as
You journey on without us, except
We know that your present weakness
Will be changed more solid than rock,
Like the faithfulness of the One
Who called you home,
And your final moments here will
Reside with us as provision for
Our continuing journey –
Like those model trains going round
And round on their tiny tracks –
Until we meet again in a new country.

A Song for Advent

Behold!
He has come,
The Son of GOD most high,
A small, humble babe,
Born into poverty
As a king without a
Throne or crown,
And yet with angel song
The King of kings was adored,
“Glory to GOD in the highest,
and peace on earth to all men”.

Behold!
He is coming,
The Son of GOD most high,
Victorious over sin and death,
Crowned with majesty and
Splendour as the one who is,
Alive forevermore, who reigns
With righteousness and peace,
And so with angel song we sing,
“Glory to GOD in the highest,
and peace on earth to all men”.